The Raiders have a new offensive coordinator, and he may have worked previously with the head coach, depending upon who that head coach turns out to be in 2010. For now, it’s Tom Cable, who coached alongside Hue Jackson at Cal State Fullerton in 1990 and at Cal in 1996.
Jackson enjoys a good reputation in NFL circles, and this hire is a welcome coup for Raiders owner Al Davis, because Jackson declined the opportunity to interview with the Chicago Bears for a similar job – an outcome that at least one Chicago columnist, who used to work in the Bay Area, considered a diss of epic proportions.
Jackson, speaking on something called “The Waddle and Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, said his decision did not amount to choosing JaMarcus Russell over Jay Cutler (talk about picking your poison), but nonetheless sounded enthused over the chance to work with Russell.
“No question,” Jackson told the radio station. “This guy was the first player drafted. It is going to be fun to see if we can get him up and playing the way we all wish that he could perform. But it’s not just about JaMarcus. … It’s the whole offensive unit that’s got to perform well around the quarterback, period.”
Unfortunately, Jackson’s record as an NFL coordinator is not impressive. He had two short-lived stints, with Washington in 2003 and with Atlanta in 2007. Here are his NFL rankings those two years:
Washington, 2003: 23rd total offense (291.2 yards per game), 21st passing (187.9), 22nd rushing (103.3), 22nd scoring (17.9)
Atlanta, 2007: 23rd total offense (301 yards per game), 18th passing (206), 26th rushing (95), 29th scoring (16.2)
As a whole, the numbers are less than mediocre. Or as we call it in Oakland, excellent!
If there is a bright side, it is Jackson’s work as a position coach, which has been fairly stellar. As Redskins running backs coach in 2001-02, he oversaw Stephen Davis’ development into a Pro Bowl running back. As Bengals wide receivers coach in 2004-06, he made Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh household names. And in his most recent job, as Ravens quarterbacks coach, he turned Joe Flacco into a capable NFL QB in near-record time.
By the way, Jackson told the Ravens’ official web site that he will call all the plays in Oakland. That’s what many have expected since Tom Cable hinted at such a change during his year-end press conference, and it may be one of the compromises that allows Cable to keep his job.